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Mobile Gaming Market Heats Up

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the must-be-all-that-kinetic-energy dept.

Cellphones 18

A few days ago, we discussed Sony's announcement of a slew of new titles for the PSP, part of their plan to reinvigorate the platform. Unfortunately, according to analyst Nicholas Lovell, it may be too late for the PSP to achieve what Sony had hoped. He says gaming on the iPhone and iPod Touch are rapidly expanding to fill that section of the market. Despite this, rumors have been swirling once more that the PSP2 is under development, and while Sony wouldn't confirm or deny, they were at least willing to talk about the rumors. Meanwhile, the App Store is dealing with a flood of titles that shows no sign of slowing, making it somewhat difficult to keep tabs on the higher-quality games. An Apple spokesperson discussed this in an interview with Pocket Gamer, and also mentioned that they'd be OK with a community gaming service similar to Xbox Live, should somebody decide to make one. It's likely that Apple will soon see more serious competition from Android Market; now that a pricing system is going online, the major publishers have more of an incentive to bring games to the platform. The Guardian's games blog recently went over some of the top games available on Android.

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PSP2 (4, Interesting)

Collinp6 (1456711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27010315)

I seriously doubt that the iPhone will be able to keep up with the PSP2, a dedicated mobile gaming platform, once its released. Although I do admit there is quite a few good games for the iPhone, they are not what the iPhone is made for.

Re:PSP2 (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27010563)

I seriously doubt that the iPhone will be able to keep up with the PSP2, a dedicated mobile gaming platform, once its released.

If that's the case, there will likely be a divide between major label games and indie games. Apple copied Microsoft's semi-open XNA Creators Club model, allowing any developer to buy an iPhone devkit for $1,200 (Mac mini + KVM + iPod Touch + developer certificate). With Sony and Nintendo, on the other hand, a developer apparently has to be an established company with a separate office and a prior PC title, if warioworld.com is to be believed.

Re:PSP2 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27011085)

An iPhone dev kit is actually $929 (Mac mini $600, iPod touch 8GB $229, $100 for one-year dev license).

Forget the KVM as you'll be switching to Mac OS X in a few weeks, believe it or not.

Re:PSP2 (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014129)

WarioWorld is the brick wall separating developers from Nintendo, but I've managed to piece together info from devs who actually managed to get into Wii development.

You don't need a prior title to develop downloadables, just the office address. The devkit contains compilers, documentation and a special Wii. Prices I've seen range from $1200 to $2000. Possibly a regional thing.

Useless for mobile devices, of course, as the portables are more hardcore and old-fashioned, and no indie dev program exists yet. When the DSi is out, maybe. The SDK for Wii is still Windows only, so I'm not personally too interested (my Windows box is gathering dust).

Re:PSP2 (1)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27010623)

How is the iPhone even supposed to compete with something that doesn't exist yet!
Apple should just declare defeat!

Re:PSP2 (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#27010987)

It won't be able to keep up technically, but the iPhone will have a significantly larger existing user base.

Re:PSP2 (0, Troll)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27011131)

And if developers aren't stupid enough to make the same mistake twice (Xbox 360/PS3 vs Wii), they'll choose the iPhone/iPod touch over the PSP2.

Re:PSP2 (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27011483)

I seriously doubt that the iPhone will be able to keep up with the PSP2, a dedicated mobile gaming platform, once its released.

Sony is going to have to drop backwards compatibility on the PSP2 if it is going to have any chance, yet the back-compat is what made the Game Boy great... But UMD is a sad joke. Honestly, I don't see what chance the PSP2 has unless it comes with a blowjob attachment (always the killer app in computing.)

Well.. (1, Insightful)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#27010321)

Meanwhile, the App Store is dealing with a flood of titles that shows no sign of slowing, making it somewhat difficult to keep tabs on the higher-quality games.

Just get Apple to block the lower-quality games then. Don't they do that already with other apps in the store? [cnet.com]
( Link was first hit from an "apple blocks competitor" Google search ).

Re:Well.. (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019161)

Define quality. Is Apple (or any other company for that matter) able to tell what people will like/dislike? Because, I for one have disagreed with *many* reviews for *many* games that I've played. And that goes both ways. Some reviews said the game sucked when I thought it was great and vis versa.

Please use paragraphs (-1, Offtopic)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27010761)

  • divide into paragraphs, as of text; "This story is well paragraphed"
  • one of several distinct subdivisions of a text intended to separate ideas; the beginning is usually marked by a new indented line

I hate being a grammar Nazi, but every time I read a wall of text I want to commit linguicide*.

*Interestingly enough I constructed the word - lingui (language root, from French.) + cide (death, forced abandonment) - thinking it was fictitious, but then looked it up and it was correct.

mobile entertainlment? (1)

Turiko (1259966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27012693)

i think it just isn't worth it. The games/consoels are always harder to control, the console costs a lot compared to what it can do, and the games, even tough as expensive as the best console/pc games, are usually very small. No thanks, i'll get a game for my pc rather then having a game that i can play anywhere, but that i'll get tired of within the hour.

Re:mobile entertainlment? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27015575)

No thanks, i'll get a game for my pc rather then having a game that i can play anywhere, but that i'll get tired of within the hour.

So what would you give to pacify kids whom you are driving around for hours at a time? Would you give them all expensive laptop computers, or would you give them (cheaper, more rugged) Nintendo DS systems?

Wishful thinking, opportunists and game analysts (2, Insightful)

ookaze (227977) | more than 5 years ago | (#27013189)

These articles are typical examples of why analysts get it wrong most of the time, especially regarding gaming.
The articles on the iPhone try very hard and yet make no sense.
You can see the wishful thinking, when an article is getting back and forth talking about different things to mislead the reader into believing they have a point.
Thus, "40 million devices or more a year that are capable of playing games" is then mixed with iPhone.
None of the gaming demographics are even taken into account.
The sales curve is not taken into account, the kind of product isn't either.
Thus, these analysts expect children to carry away iPhones/iTouch for gaming like they would carry away a DS. Actually they don't talk about the DS much, as it would destroy their argument fast. That's why they mainly talk about PSP.
Also, features necessary for mobile gaming are quickly forgotten to talk about interface or number of games so that the reader is lured into believing nothing else is important.
They won't talk about battery life or instant sleep mode or things like that. No, they try to tell people that sensitive feedback is useless.
They talk about number of games like the games they're talking about are the same, citing a few that are equivalent to handheld consoles, to blur the line.

Wishful thinking, there is so much in those articles, my head spins.

Re:Wishful thinking, opportunists and game analyst (3, Interesting)

PyroMosh (287149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27014401)

Agreed. I also take tone with the issue that the PSP is a "failure". I've never even owned a Sony console, as I don't see anything unique enough to appeal to me that's not available on the PC, or a Nintendo console. That said, the PSP is the first console ever to come in a respectable second place to Nintendo's portable offering.

That it isn't beating the DS is certainly not what Sony would have preferred, but Sony has to be pleased with the fact that they are the first ones -ever- to take measurable market share away from Nintendo. If the PSP is past the monetary break-even point at this point in it's life span, and is now profitable to boot(I honestly have no idea if it is) then Sony certainly deserves to be proud of themselves, and I'd say a PSP2 is a near certainty.

From what I can tell, Nintendo's new offering, despite enthusiastic early reception in Japan, is receiving mixed reviews, and may not fare well commercially long term, particularly outside Japan. Time will tell, but I don't see it as a compelling upgrade from the DS Lite, by adding a pair of cameras, and an SD card reader. This to me is an opportunity for Sony to innovate. Again, time will tell.

Re:Wishful thinking, opportunists and game analyst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020207)

Until you realize that when the PSP was first announced, nearly every gaming column on the web was proclaiming that Nintendo was finished and that the DS would be the end of them. I remember quite clearly sites like IGN Pocket and Gamespot talking up the PSP like it was the best thing evar and belittling the DS at every chance. Throw in Sony's usual boasting and hubris and you end up here.

Re:Wishful thinking, opportunists and game analyst (1)

GamesbriefNicholas (1492955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27081329)

There is a reason I'm talking primarily about PSP, not the DS, and it's not because mentioning the DS weakens my arguments. Like you, I think that the iPhone is much less of a threat to the DS, which has demographics both much older and much younger than the PSP.

The PSP is aimed at a hardcore, early adopter, gamer. The iPhone is also popular with a hardcore, early adopter market (particularly young adult males.)

The threat to the PSP is not that gamers switch en masse to the iPhone. It's that *enough* gamers switch to the iPhone that the substantial investment in making a high-quality PSP game (including the cost of manufacture, retail and distribution) is no longer economically viable for third-party publishers, who no longer support it.

Whereas Apple's model (70% revenue share, no physical goods, seamless distribution) means breakeven points are much lower.

Generally, analysts are not talking about pure gameplay quality. We are trying to look for the business issues that matter, and I stick by my view that the iPhone/iPod Touch is a big threat to the PSP (and, to a lesser extent the DS).

Sony's not out - a revamped, more cost-effective PSP2 could bring them back into the game. But Apple are currently making a real disturbance to the status quo.

www.gamesbrief.com [gamesbrief.com]

iPhone gaming is not what it's cracked up to be (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 5 years ago | (#27017459)

I own an iPhone and my main hobby is video gaming. I thought when I first got the iPhone that it was going to be a great platform for games, and for some types of games it is pretty good. Puzzle games work well, even "action puzzlers" like Monkey Ball, Topple, or the innumerable wooden-box Labyrinth games which use the accelerometer work well. Turn-based strategy, as well as card and board games are a great fit for the touch screen.

Most other kinds of games (action, platformer, rpg) fail miserably on the platform. It doesn't take well to button mashers, and the multitouch isn't good enough for anything with any twitch required. I've tried quite a number of demos, and nothing really works well enough for me to shell out any money for the full versions. I'm not one of those people that thinks the lack of a physical qwerty keyboard on the iPhone is a bad thing, but games are one are where discrete buttons are a must. I play WoW on a Mac, and I tried for about 30 minutes to play with the buttonless "Super Mouse" with different pressure sensitive areas, and it was a nightmare. It's far too easy to hit the wrong area on the iPhone screen and walk your character off a cliff or into the scything blades of doom. Give me my PSP or DS with discrete buttons and/or stylus any day of the week over it for most console-style games.

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